10 years of on-street parking in K’si: Stakeholders question congestion

City authorities in Kumasi, the Ashanti Region capital, rake in a daily revenue of GHS5,000 from motorists who park their vehicles in the central business district.

This figure reflects an increase from an initial 50 pesewas per slot three years ago to GHS1 currently charged motorists who decide to park at any of the 1,278 parking spaces available.

The on-street pay parking introduced by the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) in 2006 was meant to decongest the city centre, but that may not have happened a decade later.

The accredited collection agency, Gold Street Real Estate Company, which made 1.8 million Ghana Cedis in 2015, also generated close to 2 million Ghana Cedis for 2016 in revenues.

Arko Mensah, General Manager of Gold Street Real Estate Company, revealed the 2015 and 2016 figures during an interview with the Host of the LUV FMs Magazine program, The Diary, David Akuettey, on Tuesday.

“So far as this year, we have been running a daily average [revenue] of between 5,000 and 7,000 Ghana Cedis”, he added.

The regulation for on-street parking is that immediately a user parks, within one they are required to still pay the 1 Ghana Cedis.

Ten years after the introduction of on-street pay parking in Kumasi, there are concerns the measure has done little to decongest the city.

Motorists and other residents have had to contend with unbearable traffic, with little space to maneuver as vehicles are parked along major streets.

Patrons of this parking service and other residents are, however, worried about the persistent congestion, despite the intervention.

 “We have vehicles that park for as long as ten hours, and you tell me you are managing the place, as far as I and other users are concerned the answer is no because I don’t see any management over there,” a worried user, James Aboagye explains.

Chief Executive of Gold Street Real Estate Company, Kakraba Ampeh says, “I am not satisfied where we are because if in the first two or three years we manage to control the situation and now it is in this state, I can’t be satisfied”.

Another frustrated user says, “Their task-force is very irrational because I am ready to pay but there are no spaces to park. I stop for a few minutes and want to buy something and they come to a clamp the vehicle without any fault of mine.”

Managers of the scheme, Gold Street Real Estates, have however identified huge cargo trucks occupying major parking slots in the metropolis as the cause of the increase congestion.

Mr. Ampeh wants city authorities to provide alternative space outside the city for discharging cargo in a bid to intensify effort to address the continued congestion in the city.

“There is the need for rethinking through the whole operation scheme.  Remove wholesale business activities in the central business district. If KMA is able to provide a wholesale shopping area after the central business district, it will provide free further spaces for cars”, he said.

There are also concerns about what the revenue generated since 2006 has been used for.

An average of between GHS600, 000 and GHS700,000 was collected from between 2006 to 2013. But this figure rose to GHS1.76 million in 2014

According to authorities, the revenues accumulated end up in the coffers of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) and the Urban Roads Department.

Public Relations Officer for the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly, Godwin Okumah- Nyame, said the on-street parking toll end up as the state in coffers.

“If you look at how public funds are managed, the same money is used to manage sanitation. Some go into roads and road markings. But in general whatever money we collect are state funds and it goes into our accounts and are being used as any state fund is being used,” he said.

Meanwhile, plans for constructing a modern car park in the central business district is yet to materialise. Mr. Okumah-Nyame hints the KMA is exploring public-private partnership for the project.

Areas around the Kumasi Central Prison, according to him, have been designated for an ultramodern car park to be constructed.

The Chinese, early 2016 expressed interest to construct during a sister-city relationship in Ghana.

But Mr. Nyame emphasised that the project will not be funded by internally generated fund.

So the question still remains that why is the money being collected from on-street parking not being used for parking lot expansion?

Records available indicate that the traffic situation will be further escalated due to population growth in Kumasi and other parts of the fastest growing region in Ghana, which is growing at 2.7 percent annually.